Firings and hirings: NHL coaches finding new homes
NHL coaching changes across the league
With all the rumors flowing around the league about who will be fired and who will be filling their spots, the past days and weeks have answered many questions. This off season has been mayhem in the coaching department with seven teams getting rid of their bench bosses while only five have found replacements at the writing of this article. Here's the scoop.
San Jose Sharks
Fired - Ron Wilson. After becoming the winningest coach in franchise history with a record of 206-134-45 including going undefeated in 20 games this season, he gets released. Needless to say, his playoff record is terrible.
Hired – Todd McLellan. For some reason, this assistant coach for Detroit Red Wings has decided to accept the position in San Jose. So he wins the cup in 2007-2008 and now wants to challenge the Wings by coaching a team in the same conference. As a third year assistant, his Stanley Cup this year is already better one than Wilson’s career.
McLellan has a great team to work with in the Sharks with the playoffs being a damn near guarantee. It is the cup that San Jose wants and nothing less.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Fired – Paul Maurice. He lasted two seasons with a so-so record of 77-66-22 but was it really his fault? The expectations in Toronto are very high and fail to see the dedication to the word “rebuild.” Maurice never had a playoff team in his time in Toronto, let alone a contender. Many players under him had career years but he never had a #1 goalie.
Hired – Ron Wilson. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Toronto is beyond lucky to have a man with Wilson’s resume’ behind the bench. In San Jose, he had a well-built machine. In Toronto, the machine has to be built with awful parts. Wilson has been open about the fact that he will need time to make a championship team and needs the support of the city behind his decisions.
Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker, Bryan McCabe and Matt Stajan are all walking on thin ice. Trades are coming.
Stepped Down – Jacques Martin. Already being the general manager in Florida, Martin resigned his duties to focus on the teams issues in the office. Under him though, the Panthers made a good run for the playoffs this season but did not have the power to keep up.
Hired – Peter DeBoer. This guy is a genius in the Canadian junior hockey system. He is one of five coaches to win 500 Ontario Hockey League games and has won numerous championships. Now he enters the big league with a young team that has great potential. Ironically enough, three players currently on the Florida roster were once coached by DeBoer at the junior level (Stephen Weiss, Mike Duco, and Greg Campbell).
Fired – John Paddock and Bryan Murray. Ottawa was full of drama, deceit and disappointment this year while going through two coaches. Again, this is another team with great starts to the season with failing endings.
Hired – Craig Hartsburg. Godzilla would not have a chance against Hartsburg; this coach may be the best signing of the off season already. His first job will to get rid of the drama on the team, aka Ray Emery. Secondly, he will clean the team up to the way he likes and within his tenure in Ottawa a Stanley Cup will be held. The Senators are a good team and he can make them great.
“Mutually agreed to not return” – Joel Quenneville. The Avalanche are not the team they were 10 years ago but the same results are expected. This year was a reasonable year for any NHL team, just not in Colorado. Quenneville’s boys were on the injured reserve list more than on the ice, which ultimately sank the ship.
Hired – Tony Granato…again. For the second time in his career, Granato will coach the Avs. Actually, he holds a hell of a record with the team going 72-44-17. Colorado is going through a well coached transition with the youth as the Joe Sakic gets older.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Fired – John Tortorella. Too bad this quick-witted coach that attracts media like a mouse to cheese has been relieved his duties. He is a great, smart entertainer who says it how it is and even won the Stanley Cup with the Bolts back in 2004. He has never had a great team but always did what he could with what he had. Finishing dead last in the NHL this season was Tortorella’s final cue.
Hired – TBA. Really. Who would want this job? Besides Vincent Lecavalier, Dan Boyle and Martin St. Louis, this team is still the worst in the NHL. They did win the lottery draft and should pick Steven Stamkos with the first overall pick, but will that help?
Names being thrown around – Joel Quenneville, Paul Maurice, Glen Hanlon
Los Angeles Kings
Fired – Marc Crawford. No surprise here. With a record of 59-84-21 in two seasons, Crawford knew this was coming even with another season left in his contract. His hair was perfect for Hollywood but his coaching was not. Lots of talent on this team and yet, season after season, the Kings fail to make the post season.
Hired – TBA. I am actually shocked that this team has not hired anyone yet. L.A. is very young, fast and loaded with prospects. Hartsburg would have fit this system perfectly.
Names being thrown around – Bob Hartley, John Tortorella, Dave Lewis, Bill Ranford
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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